Cayman Finance CEO Jude Scott has made it clear that when establishing anti-corruption practices such as data disclosures, all financial centres around the world should implement these standards – not just a few like the Cayman Islands.
“The difficulty is when you start carving out standards for certain countries that aren’t applicable to others then what we create is really a bucket that we patch some holes but we have other large holes that are very leaky,” he said.
Mr Scott, who is in the UK for the Anti-Corruption Summit to be held on Thursday, 12 May in London, was speaking in an interview on a British television channel, Sky News.
The host Ian King mentioned that UK Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn recently said the Cayman Islands would not make public any of the data disclosures as UK Prime Minister David Cameron had hoped. He asked Mr Scott if this was the case.
Mr Scott informed him that Cayman constantly tries to ensure that it is providing the information to the appropriate authorities whether it is tax authorities or law enforcement.
He said, “For example we’ve signed up as an early adopter of the common reporting standards, which will give automatic information exchange to tax authorities in over 90+ countries.
“Our focus has been for many, many years focusing on having good, strong transparency and corporation standards and so we’ve continued to evolve those,” he said.
Mr Scott added he believes tackling illegitimate transactions through appropriate channels is the best way to collectively address them.
Mr King questioned if Cayman already has mechanisms for information exchange “in private”, what makes the country hesitant about public disclosures.
“I think when we look at it we’ll also see, for example, from the anti-corruption summit is that the important thing is to make sure that we are establishing standards that are able to be implemented by all financial centres around the world (sic),” Mr Scott stated.
He said he hopes the summit will result in collaboration.
“For example, Cayman has had in place very strong transparency practices for probably 15 and 20 years. Really having a seat at the table to be able to share some of those best practices and actually contribute to the conversation so that we can help shape it going forward. Because we believe that good strong standards like what we have in Cayman are important for us to have, but implement globally,” he explained.
Despite the recent occurrence of the world’s largest data leak, dubbed the Panama Papers leak, the Panama delegation was not invited to Thursday’s summit along with the British Virgin Islands.
“I really don’t know the background or circumstances on that. I think from the Cayman perspective we’re very pleased to participate in it. We think that perhaps that has been a deficiency in the past that top jurisdictions like ourselves haven’t had the opportunity to contribute a wealth of knowledge and perspective so we’re happy to be at the table and we’re happy to be a strong partner,” said Mr Scott.
Two days before the summit Mr Cameron seemed to have offended two of his invited guests during a conversation with the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby when he stated, “We’ve got the leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain; Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world.”
When asked how effective he thinks the summit will be when Mr Cameron just offended two of his guests, Mr Scott responded by saying, “The main focus should be on the purpose of this summit which is finding better ways to address a global corruption and that’s really the responsibility for all of the countries which are attending and certainly the Cayman Islands delegation will be attending. We see ourselves as a strong partner in helping combat global financial crime and corruption.”